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New ID smartcards still in testing phase

The Home Affairs Department is busy testing the new ID smartcards.

Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma shows her new ID smart card during a media briefing in Cape Town on 25 April 2012. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - There is still no indication of when South Africa's green identity documents (ID) will be phased out to make way for smartcards.

The Home Affairs Department said it cannot commit to an implementation date.

This is because the project is still in its pilot phase.

Home Affiars Director-General Mkhuseli Apleni said the introduction of the new system could take four to five years.

The new ID smartcards were announced my Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Parliament last week.

Apleni said the department will spend the next six to twelve months testing the hardware and software to be used in the production of the cards.

He said residents will receive their first smartcard for free.